Saturday, November 16, 2013
An incredibly busy week has ended. And, tomorrow, another begins. Let me tell you a bit about last week's adventures. Most of them didn't involve cooking. That was shocking! But, a lot of them did involve food. Not so shocking after all.
Not so shocking either is the fact that I didn't have an opportunity to attach photos and post this so I'm an entire week behind...
Monday evening Connie didn't have his normal bridge game. So, we used the rest of the lamb shoulder and made tandoori lamb from License to Grill. And, we made Moroccan Eggplant. Both were just amazingly wonderful. The leftover lamb got put into wraps with some tzatziki sauce for lunch the next day.
Tuesday was our smoking class at Chef JJ's Backyard. Not too long ago we cashed in all our credit card cash back and got a Big Green Egg. So, I signed up for a class. Recently, JJ put out the list of his upcoming classes and they all sold out in 24 hours. He does a magnificent job so it's no wonder.
While we were waiting on class to start, Chef Stephen served us some curried naan. Baked on the Big Green Egg. I'd have been happy if they'd just stopped there... It was perfect. Delicately flavored. Chewy. Ummmmmmmm.
We started with a pork loin with a fig jam sauce. It was served with a winter slaw. JJ and Chef Stephen smoked the cabbage and the apple for the slaw. Amazing. We learned that meat doesn't absorb smoke after it reaches a certain temperature - 130 degrees F, I believe. JJ also taught everyone about brining. It's a technique I first used when I made Thomas Keller's fried chicken. Then, I used it for our turkey. Now, I'm a huge fan of brining.
On to the next course. Mahi Mahi with a kale and grapefruit salad. The fish was seasoned with a maple based rub then smoked. The kale was smoked for about a minute then chopped and tossed with a grapefruit dressing.
Next, the best, brisket. This, in my humble opinion was competition worthy. JJ showed us how he rubbed the brisket and explained the pieces and parts. He also talked about Connie's favorite burnt ends. Then, he and Chef Stephen pulled out the brisket they'd already smoked and cut it up and served it with noodle kugel. Somehow in spite of being stuffed I managed to eat the brisket. The noodle kugel came home with me.
Last, but not least, a shortbread crust with a chocolate ganache and a smoked crème anglaise. Now, what you need to realize is that JJ and his crew have a sink, fridge and Big Green Eggs. There's not a stove or an oven. EVERYTHING is prepared on the Big Green Egg.
Wednesday we were actually home. You'll have to come back and read my blog about the chicken enchiladas...
Thursday was The Odd Couple. A few months ago Connie said the play was going to be at Actor's Theatre and he thought my mom would enjoy it. So, I called her. Yes, she'd love to attend but my brother had beaten me to the invitation. So, I called my brother and asked if we could all go out to dinner before the play. Sure. How'd we like to try Divvy?
It's next door to the theatre so it'd be easy. Well now, let me tell you about Divvy.
Actually, I think I need decent photos so I'd better go back up there and have dinner again so I can get better photos than the one above. Probably will need several visits to get photos. Can you tell we loved the place? The concept is that you get dishes to share. We started with three appetizers for the four of us: frizzled white anchovies, bruleed brie with fig jam and fried cippollini onions with tomato aioli. All were very good. Then, for our entrees we had steak slices with blue cheese, pork wontons, shredded chicken sliders and lobster thermidor. It's the lobster that keeps calling my name. Connie's too. We'll absolutely be back.
Actor's Theatre did a great job with The Odd Couple. We've so enjoyed attending there. And, we'd have bought season tickets had the first play not been a country music filled extravaganza. Neither of us can quite stomach country music...
Friday evening our bank had a reception prior to the play at Civic. Since we're already season ticket holders, I just changed our tickets to the correct evening so we could attend both. This was a reprise of 1940's Radio Hour. We enjoyed it every bit as much as we did the first time.
Are you tired yet? We sure were! Saturday was, as usual, another work day for us. But, it was one of those Saturdays that I scheduled appointments all day. Barb and Tom showed up with two big bags of apples and a gallon of homemade apple cider. Talk about good. It sure puts the grocery store stuff to shame! Saturday evening we were supposed to meet our friends Susan and Paul at Twenty Tap for dinner. They got there at 5:30 and the wait was 90 minutes. Plan B was in order. Connie'd have to wait on his deep-fried cheese curds. We decided Fire by the Monon was a great alternative. Paul and I had the specials - grouper po-boys. YUM! Connie had a good cobb salad and Susan had goat cheese marina and a salad. With full tummies, we headed off to Hinkle Fieldhouse. For those of you who aren't from Indiana, Hinkle Fieldhouse is the home court of Butler University and is where the movie "Hoosiers" was filmed. It was our first time attending a Butler game. The opposing team was Lamar and the fun fact is that the daughter of friends of ours is married to the Lamar coach. So, we got to see David and Kathy too.
Sunday morning I got a call from our friend Lauren asking if we'd like to go out for Ethiopian that evening. Nope, we really want an evening at home. And, we were going to go to the Colts game so we'd be gone the middle of the day too. We were more than ready to get home!
Once home I marched into the kitchen and started cooking for the week. Red beans went in for a fast soak. Red beans and rice are on the menu. Pasta sauce got started so I could finish up the crab ravioli. Apples got chopped for a hot apple side dish. BBQ hot dogs got made. Eggs got hard cooked for cobb salads. Salami was browned and drained for sandwiches. Yet another recipe from Michael Symon's 5 in 5.
Tandoori Roasted Lamb
4-5 lb leg or shoulder of lamb
1/3 c minced cilantro
1/4 c minced ginger
1/4 c minced garlic
1/4 c ground cumin
1/4 c cayenne pepper (I'm a baby, I cut this in half)
2 T ground coriander
2 t ground cardamom
1 T ground cinnamon
1 T ground cloves
1/4 c kosher salt
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c plain yogurt
Trim the lamb. We used shoulder but the original recipe was for leg. Mix all the marinade ingredients and slather the lamb with the marinade. Refrigerate 1-3 hours.
Grill until medium-rare.
adapted from License to Grill